Tories announce new funding for clean energy
Published Wednesday, January 17, 2007 11:19PM EST
The Conservative government announced $230 million in new funding Wednesday for the development of clean energy technologies.
"I am very pleased to announce the creation of a new ecoEnergy Technology Initiative," Minister of Natural Resources Gary Lunn said Wednesday. "This is a targeted investment in clean energy of $230 million over the next four years."
"This will bring our government's funding that we spend on science and technology to $1.5 billion over the next four years."
Lunn made the announcement in Ottawa alongside Minister of the Environment John Baird.
"This investment in science and technology will go towards finding new ways to protect the atmosphere from waste gases, producing fuel technology to provide emergency back up power instead of using conventional diesel generators, developing an advanced clean coal technology that will enable industry to reduce toxic emissions and studying ways in which to build solar heated homes and communities," said Baird.
Baird said Canada needs enforceable regulations to reduce, not just green house gas emissions, but also air pollutants in the environment.
Lunn said the investment is part of a series of eco-energy initiatives by the Conservatives.
He identified three areas that the government will focus on:
- the use science and technology to clean up conventional energy
- putting more clean energy on the grid
- energy efficiency
"When we took office, there were literally hundreds of programs but there was no focus," Lunn told Canada AM on Wednesday.
Later this week, Ottawa will unveil a reworked version of the EnerGuide for Houses program, which encouraged consumers to make their homes more efficient.
"Becoming more energy efficient is the largest untapped source of energy," said Lunn.
"Most Canadians probably don't realize that 80 to 85 per cent of all greenhouse gases that go into the atmosphere come from energy."
Conservatives axed the Liberal-created EnerGuide program when they took office, and sources say their new version could offer tax credits instead of direct subsidies.
Dale Marshall, of the David Suzuki Foundation, told Canada AM Wednesday that Canada needs "a climate change plan" and not "splashy announcements."
"What we need is a concerted effort to reduce emissions," said Marshall. "We didn't hear anything about what kind of emission reductions we're going to get in Canada. We didn't hear anything about Kyoto and we didn't hear anything about the long term... we need all of those things in place in order for the government to credibly say we're addressing climate change."
On Tuesday, Liberal Leader Stephane Dion gave a major speech in Toronto, arguing that green plans are good for business.
Dion emphasized that it is in Canada's economic interests to tackle global warming as the fiscal opportunities are enormous.
Not only will their companies become profitable from selling green solutions to the world, they will be shielded from rising energy costs, and boast higher qualities of life, he said.
"Stephane Dion is saying the right things but the Conservatives are right that the Liberal record isn't great," said Marshall.